Today is Hubby's birthday. What a keeper I have. Happy birthday!
Both boys went to the vet on Monday for their spring vaccinations and dental work. I've blogged about this several times already so I am skipping the what I give and what they do part. I want to talk about getting there and then the after part.
You might remember that I started hand grazing both boys together in an effort to get them more friendly toward one another. I am glad I did. You already know that I do everything alone: riding, showing, visits to the vet, etc. Loading two horses in the trailer at the same time by yourself has some potential for disaster when you're the only biped within a quarter mile.
While I have a three-horse slant load, I have removed the second partition to create a singe forward stall and a double second stall. Speedy fits quite nicely in either stall, but Sydney certainly needs the space provided by the double stall set up which means that he has to load last.
I tied him to the trailer while I went back to Speedy's stall. I was very pleased with how quietly he stood and waited. I sent Speedy in and closed the partition. He looked a little puzzled as he hasn't been in that stall in at least a year, but he took it in stride. I climbed out of the trailer and brought Sydney up. He looked surprised to see Speedy inside, but he loaded up without hesitation. It's been a year since they've been in the trailer together.
I gave everyone a good check, adjusted the windows for ventilation and left for the vet. Both boys rode in silence and unloaded like perfect gentlemen. Sydney went to a holding stall while Speedy saw the doctor, and they later switched positions. There was never a moment's drama. The trip home went even smoother, especially since boys were still slightly buzzed from the "Valium" they received.
By Thursday, their appetites had improved and they were much more cheerful. I saddled up Sydney for a short ride of mostly walking to see how stiff he still felt. He was a bit lethargic, but it was also quite warm so it was difficult to tell how much was from the injections and how much was due to the heat.
On Friday, both boys hollered at me as I pulled into the barn. I knew everyone was back to normal. I did my regular routine of cleaning stalls, feeding Sydney, and mixing their beet pulp. Sydney began waiting at the gate which told me he was really ready to get back to work. I saddled up and walked out to the arena. All was well. I got on and began to amble to the far end at a leisurely walk like always.
All of a sudden, Sydney slammed on the breaks and considered for quite a few moments whether he should spin and bolt. I willed my legs and seat to stay relaxed and balanced. I scanned the arena for some wild animal. It took a moment, but I finally saw what Sydney had seen: pallet after pallet of bricks. It looked like the neighbor (of tractor fame) was preparing to build a large brick wall on the other side of the road. The bricks must have just been delivered.
Sydney didn't bolt, but his whole body was quivering and his head was as high as he could get it. I pat his neck and urged him forward. It took a bit of time, but I was able to urge him around that end of the arena and begin walking back toward the gate. He gave a few bouncy gonna bolt steps, but I asked him to walk and he did! I had him walk four laps around the arena; each time the bricks were less and less of an issue. By the final lap, he walked by them as though they had always been there. We went on to do our regular ride with no further issues.
I was actually thrilled to have this experience two days before the show. He showed me that he can listen to me when he's scared. Six months ago that was not the case. I don't know what is going to happen at tomorrow's show, but I feel a little better about my ability to encourage him through the stress.
I have to leave the house by 5:00 a.m. so you won't hear from me tomorrow, but I will be sure and let you know how we did on Monday. Wish us luck!